There’s no place like Morrisville

Clayton Hunt
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Published on July 30, 2014

Mary Bungay: “I’ve been away from Morrisville for 37 years. I love to come back, especially during events like this as there are so many people around, some of whom I haven’t seen in about 40 years. This centennial celebration has made the community seem like it was when I grew up here, as there are so many people here this week.” — TC Media photo

Published on July 30, 2014

Brittany McDonald: “I left Morrisville with my family when I was 10, and now live in Bellville, Ont., where I work as a registered practical nurse. I wanted to come back for this centennial as I still have some family here, and I want my child to get to know her Newfoundland heritage, even though she is very young. I’m having a great time, and it’s good to be back home.” — TC Media photo

Published on July 30, 2014

Tina Dominie: “Following high school, I spent a year at school in Grand Falls-Windsor and now work as a housekeeper at a retirement residence in St. Catharines, Ont. It’s great to be working there, but it’s not like Morrisville. I enjoyed living here and I miss the people very much.” — TC Media photo

Published on July 30, 2014

Derek McDonald: “I’ve been away from Morrisville for 16 years and now make a living as a truck driver in Belleville, Ont. I wanted to come home for this event, as I knew so many people were returning. As soon as I see my old friends they recognize me and it’s handshakes and hugs all around.” — TC Media photo

Published on July 30, 2014

Harriett Fudge: “My father was one of the three brothers who set up a sawmill in this community back in 1914. I was born here, but lived in Head of Bay d’Espoir until I was 19 when I returned here to live with my husband. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the community. We used to have three stores and three sawmills in operation. When Bowater came to Bay d’Espoir they set up their operations here and had their own clinic. We had more people back then, of course. I can remember there were 35 children in three families alone. All the stores and sawmills are gone and our population is down to about 120 now. However, I still enjoy living here. They tell me I’m very lucky to have five of my nine children in Morrisville, as I live alone now and they are around to help keep me company.” — TC Media photo

Folks turn out from near and far to help their hometown mark 100 years

Former residents from across the province and the country flocked home to help Morrisville celebrate hitting the century mark.

There was a motorcade, the dedication of a Tree of Memories, an old-fashioned concert with skits, church services, a community barbecue and a kitchen party.

Sherry King, chair of the centennial committee, said her group spent about two years organizing the event in this tiny community northeast of St. Alban’s.

“We thought our 100th anniversary would be a good time to have a community celebration for both present and former residents,” she said.

Eric Ball said Morrisville began as a settlement in 1914 when John, Jim and Albert Kendall started a sawmill in the area.

According to the “Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador,” the Kendalls were the only permanent settlers in those early years. But before long others decided to stay and by the time the 1921 census was taken, 60 people called Morrisville home. There were Bobbetts and Coopers, Matchems and McDonalds, Walshes, Fudges and Willmotts.

By 1971, 223 people lived there. Today, due to a decline in the sawmill industry and the economy in general, that number has dwindled to about 120.

But the population swelled to 465 during the festivities.

A number of former and current residents shared their memories and experiences during the centennial celebrations that ran from July 11 to 20.

Joy Kendell

“I left Morrisville when I was 19 to work in Ottawa where I now work for the federal government. I am 47 now and always love coming home to see family members and friends. This event was very well organized, and I’m having an awesome time. A very moving moment for me was the dedication of the ball field to the memory of my late husband, who was also from here.”

Mary Bungay

“I’ve been away from Morrisville for 37 years. I love to come back, especially during events like this as there are so many people around, some of whom I haven’t seen in about 40 years. This centennial celebration has made the community seem like it was when I grew up here, as there are so many people here this week.”

Brittany McDonald

“I left Morrisville with my family when I was 10, and now live in Bellville, Ont., where I work as a registered practical nurse. I wanted to come back for this centennial as I still have some family here, and I want my child to get to know her Newfoundland heritage, even though she is very young. I’m having a great time, and it’s good to be back home.”

 

Tina Dominie

“Following high school, I spent a year at school in Grand Falls-Windsor and now work as a housekeeper at a retirement residence in St. Catharines, Ont. It’s great to be working there, but it’s not like Morrisville. I enjoyed living here and I miss the people very much.”

 

Derek McDonald

“I’ve been away from Morrisville for 16 years and now make a living as a truck driver in Belleville, Ont. I wanted to come home for this event, as I knew so many people were returning. As soon as I see my old friends they recognize me and it’s handshakes and hugs all around.”

Harriett Fudge

“My father was one of the three brothers who set up a sawmill in this community back in 1914. I was born here, but lived in Head of Bay d’Espoir until I was 19 when I returned here to live with my husband.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the community. We used to have three stores and three sawmills in operation. When Bowater came to Bay d’Espoir they set up their operations here and had their own clinic. We had more people back then, of course. I can remember there were 35 children in three families alone.

“All the stores and sawmills are gone and our population is down to about 120 now. However, I still enjoy living here. They tell me I’m very lucky to have five of my nine children in Morrisville, as I live alone now and they are around to help keep me company.”

 

The Advertiser

Organizations: Bowater

Geographic location: Morrisville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ottawa Bellville Grand Falls-Windsor Belleville

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